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FEMA authorizes funds for Chimney Top firefighting efforts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Tennessee to fight the Chimney Top Fire in Sevier County.

This authorization makes FEMA grant funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire. Eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire and costs for emergency work such as evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.

“We will continue to work closely with state and local responders who are on the frontlines of this fire fight,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia B. Szczech.  “FEMA approved these funds to ensure they have every available resource.”

The state requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) and it was granted at 11 p.m. on Nov. 28. The blaze started on Nov. 23, 2016, and has since grown to more than 500 acres. More than 30 residences are threatened, however, that number could grow substantially if the fire reaches the City of Gatlinburg. U.S. Route 4-11 is closed from Gatlinburg to Cherokee due to smoke. There were 750 evacuations from homes, a hotel and an apartment.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to fight fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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